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Page last updated at 11:16 GMT, Tuesday, 25 May 2010 12:16 UK

My First World Cup: Efrain Juarez

Efrain Juarez
Juarez has come to the fore under new coach Javier Aguirre

By Ben Sutherland

Midfielder Efrain Juarez has told the BBC he wants to spoil South Africa's celebrations on his World Cup debut - by helping Mexico to a win against the hosts in the opening match of the tournament.

The Pumas player, who has won 15 caps since breaking into the side last year, is now a permanent fixture on the right side of Mexico's midfield - having starred in the team that won the 2009 Concacaf Gold Cup.

Mexico have the unenviable task of taking on the hosts when the tournament kicks off at Soccer City in Johannesburg on 11 June. But Juarez said his vision was coming away from the match with three points in Group A.

"One of my dreams as a player is to represent my country in the world's largest tournaments," he told BBC Mundo.

"I envision playing the opening match against South Africa, doing great things and coming away with a win."

Spoiling the big day

Juarez was signed by Spanish giants Barcelona following his performances at the 2005 Fifa under-17 World Championship - but never made an appearance for the senior side.

Indeed, he struggled to even make the B team, and returned to Mexico - where he won the league title.

BBC My First World Cup XI
11 players making their debut on the World Cup stage at South Africa 2010

But having spent so much time in relative obscurity, he said he was now keen to make the most of the exposure that will come from playing in the first game of the world's biggest football tournament.

"The truth is, knowing that everyone will be watching you in the opening match is a real motivation," he said.

And he added he was now planning to make history with his side, who also come up against France and Uruguay.

"To be honest I'm not going to South Africa for the ride," he said.

"I want to try to make history with Mexico."

But despite his hopes of ruining the country's big day, Juarez said he was very excited about visiting South Africa.

"It is a country characterised by nature - I think that is very clear," he said.

"They have a great animal kingdom, characterised by its practical nature. They have tried to do things very well to make this World Cup a memorable one on the African continent."

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see also
Mexico drop Jonathan dos Santos
31 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
Guide to the teams at South Africa 2010
05 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup venues
05 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010

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